Women & Wellness

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This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the

May 9, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Smarter E-mail Marketing: Blaine Greenfield

Use E-mail to inform, to sell, and to build strong


relationships. Just don’t use it to send Christmas greetings. So says

Blaine Greenfield, owner of Blaine Greenfield Associates in

East Windsor and marketing teacher at Bucks County Community College.

E-mail is a powerful business tool, he says, but companies are just

not exploiting its potential. Sending a mass Christmas or Hanukkah

mailing, for instance, is unimaginative and dooms the message to be

quickly deleted by customers overloaded with seasonal greetings.

Greenfield speaks on "Marketing Using Technology" at the New

Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Conference on Friday,

May 11, at 8 a.m. at the New Brunswick Hyatt. Cost: $69. Call


A complete list of workshops and speakers follows this article.

Greenfield, who holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing education from

Rider (Class of 1971) and a master’s degree in vocational-technical

education from Rutgers, grew up in marketing. He followed his


and his father into Federal Distributing Corporation, a family


involved in sampling and distribution. He left the company in the

1970s, he says, because "a large part of it was cigaret sampling,

and I didn’t want to be involved in it all my life." He founded

his own marketing firm in 1976, but did return to the family business

for a time when it shifted emphasis from cigarets to the distribution

of phone books.

A member of an entrepreneurial family, Greenfield, whose mother still

runs an interior decorating business after retiring to Florida,


small and mid-sized companies implementing a variety of marketing

techniques. Technology is not often the whole show, but he says it

has its place. "Marketing is still high touch, not high tech,"

he says. "Even with technology you can have close personal


Technology lets you do it more quickly and efficiently."

E-mail has turned out to be the universal runaway hit of the Internet,

technology working so well that few businesses can imagine how they

functioned without it. Greenfield says, used correctly, it can add

customers and keep current customers happy. Here are his suggestions

for doing E-marketing the right way:

Say `Happy Holland Bulbs Day.’ Or maybe Happy Duffers

Day or Happy Copier Salesman’s Day. Avoid the obvious, says


Everyone sends Christmas cards via E-mail. Check the calendar, and

be creative. "No marketing idea is brilliantly new," he says.

Find out all you can about business contacts, and then send greetings

for occasions that are important to them. And don’t forget the


that is important to everyone.

"I send out 400 birthday cards, and increase it by 100 a


Greenfield says. "It’s the single most powerful thing that I


Speaking like the marketer that he is, Greenfield says he gets a 30

percent response rate from the birthday greetings, mostly in the form

of thank-yous.

One caveat: Don’t send Blue Mountain Arts E-cards, or similar Internet

stock greetings that have been done to death. Greenfield says it is

much better to make up a custom card. He has turned out


versions of David Letterman’s Top Ten List, for instance.

Think of Clients While Reading. Greenfield subscribes

to the digital form of the Wall Street Journal, reads it religiously,

and always keeps an eye out for items that match his business


interests. When he sees an article, perhaps on banking, that a number

of his clients might be interested in, he zaps a copy to each of them.

"It takes two seconds," he says, yet is a most effective way

of letting contacts know he is thinking of them. Newsletters are a

staple way of keeping in touch for clients and potential clients,

he says, and is a great tool. But it is a good idea to vary


and sending information E-mail recipients will enjoy is a prime way

to do so.

Use Distribution Lists. E-mail makes it possible not only

to send the same banking article to 23 people with click of a mouse,

but to send it in such a way that each has no idea it was sent to

22 other people. It is vital to send bulk E-mail this way, Greenfield

says. Not everyone observes this rule, which he calls "basic


etiquette." Many people, and some businesses, send out mail that

begins with a string of names. This compromises the privacy of


listed at the top of the E-mail, is annoying to read through, and

looks unprofessional.

Get Permission. Unequivocally, Greenfield states that

no one should send E-mail to any person who has not expressly


that he wants to receive it. "It’s spam," he says. Avoid it,

but know that getting that permission is one of the most important

marketing moves a company can make. It delivers potential customers

who have shown a strong interest in a product by agreeing to be


Give some thought to obtaining this permission, Greenfield says. Don’t

just ask something like "Do you want to receive E-mail?" Make

the offer enticing. Say "Do you want to know when we have a big

sale?" or something similar that will show a clear benefit to

agreeing to be put on an E-mail list.

Mind the Subject Line. First of all, don’t send any E-mail

that has the telltale "FW" in it. Standing for


the initials are a clear sign that the attached missive is part of

a bulk mailing. Most readers press "delete" as soon as they

see forwarded mail, Greenfield says. Inundated by spam, most people

need little excuse to press that delete button. Thought needs to be

given to the subject line, capturing attention in the nanosecond of

thought surfers expend in deciding which new E-mail to open. Consider

using names in the subject line, Greenfield says. Personalizing mail

is an old direct mail tactic, he says, and it works. Beyond using

a name, offer recipients a compelling reason to read the message,

perhaps by touting a limited-time sale or the price of a cut-rate


Answer Your Mail. If you solicit E-mail, Greenfield says,

you need to be ready to answer it. This can be a chore, one that


the dark underside of E-mail. Getting out personal responses can be

a daunting task for a company of any size, taxing resources and


for extra manpower, but it is a most important one. Greenfield himself

is still smarting from an auto-reply from America Online that he is

convinced was at least three years old. When he wrote back to say

it was "a stupid letter," he got no response at all.

Constantly Test Your E-Campaigns. "It’s simple to

test the stuff you’re sending out, but nobody does it," says


He tells his clients to create their own board of advisors, made up

of current customers. These are the people whose opinion counts most,

he says. Have them read and evaluate your latest E-newsletters. Strive

to get an honest opinion out of them. "Don’t say `What do you

think of my newsletter?’" he advises. "Say `What is one thing

we could be doing better?’"

There are any number of ways that technology, and particularly

E-mail, lets businesses connect with potential clients in ways that

just were not possible before. When he goes to a trade fair, for


Greenfield collects E-mail addresses and sends a thank-you note to

everyone who visited his booth. "If I tried to contact 100 people

by phone, I’d never get through," he says. "I can E-mail them

all in seven seconds."

Other workshops at the May 11 Small Business Conference at the

New Brunswick Hyatt include:

Is Your Business Geared Up for the 21st Century?


include Joan Verplanck, president, New Jersey Chamber; Norm DeLuca,

Fleet Bank; Maxine Ballen, executive director, NJ Technology Council;

and Rosemary Alito, McCarter & English.

Getting the Word Out on a Limited Budget. Speakers include

Michael Cherenson, Cherenson Group,and Rich Ecke, Berry Associates

Public Relations.

Marketing Using Technology. Speakers include Bernadette

Tiernan, NJSBDC E-Business Training Director; and Dana Hutchins,



Top Of Page
Women & Wellness

<B>Judith Heumann was barred from public school until

the fourth grade, and was able to begin her teaching career only after

suing the Board of Education of the New York City school system.


with polio at age 18 months, Heumann is confined to a wheel chair.

Her personal experience with the discrimination that affects persons

with disabilities propelled her toward a career in which she strives

to improve opportunities for others.

Heumann served as assistant secretary for special education and


services in the Clinton White House, and is co-founder of the American

Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities and of Disabled in Action.

She helped develop legislation that became the Individuals with


Education Act and the American with Disabilities Act.

Heumann delivers the keynote address, "Meeting the Challenges

of Career Development as a Woman with a Disability," at the Women

& Wellness Conference, sponsored by the YWCA of Princeton, the Jewish

Family & Children’s Service, and the Senior Resource Center on Monday,

May 14, at 5 p.m. at Adath Israel Congregation, on Route 206 just

south of Rider University. Free. Call 609-497-2100, ext. 303.

In addition to Heumann’s address, the Wellness Conference features

six workshops, including "Optimizing Health Insurance and Estate


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